AT A GLANCE
- Present Group
- Mining and Resources
- To implement a flexible ERP system that wouldserve unknown future needs
- To engage in a supplier partnership based on trust, accessibility and understanding
- Epicor next-generation ERP
- System can adapt to as yet unknown requirements
- Full support and engagement from Epicor
- Flexible licensing model
- Supports mobility and provides organisational agility
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Headquartered in Perth, Western Australia, Present Group, which services the resources and mining sector, has a national network of offices and branches spreading out into Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. The company’s philosophy is to become one of its clients most trusted servants and to make a difference in one of the world’s largest industry sectors by removing and reducing the chronic waste of natural, capital and human resources prevalent in the sector. It consists of four complementary business units – Powertech Services, Precise Facilities, Octave Consulting and Seamless Resourcing – which together address the requirements of their clients in the field of completions.
Something must be done
As a result of the primary resource sector expansion in Australia Present Group experienced unprecedented and explosive growth. Its management team realised that it clearly needed an ERP system to meet its current transactional volumes, but they also needed one which would provide the flexibility to serve future needs and adapt to the continually changing business environment.
Present Group’s key ERP requirements were:
- To be able to work seamlessly as part of a business process eco-system
- To have a partnership based on trust, accessibility and understanding
- To adopt a licensing model which supported rapid business growth
- To offer functionality that catered for growth complexity, not just volumes
The Present Group’s CEO, Brian Grimmer, stated from the outset that an ERP implementation would be “open heart surgery for the business”. It was imperative that the whole of the management team was committed and actively involved in the choice and deployment of the right solution components.
Talking about the selection process Peter Midgley, Present Group CXO, explains that “there were other solutions that met our immediate needs and which offered a proven path to implementation but we saw that we would run out of road in five years”.
“Our business was undergoing a complete metamorphosis: five-fold expansion in transactional volumes, moving from one to eight regional offices, overseas expansion, business unit segmentation, offshore administrative processing and the inevitable influx of new people who couldn’t be expected to know the fundamentals of our business operations or our social environment. We had to have a solution that placed people at the centre and offered flexible processes as part of an overall solution, not just bureaucratic, islanded processes set up to serve the needs of the finance function,” Midgley elaborates.
A critical decision
Epicor service-oriented architecture (SOA) played an important part in Present Group choosing the Epicor technology over competitor offerings. Because Epicor ERP is built on next-generation technology Present Group can adapt the technology to future proof against as yet unknown requirements.
Midgley says, “SOA enabled us to build a business process eco-system of Epicor ERP, CRM, HCM, SharePoint, Analytics, NewsGator and Nintex across a fully cloud computing based infrastructure. The ability of Epicor ERP to readily deploy as web-parts means that all we have to have to open a new office is a browser. Any one of our technicians in the field, armed only with an iPad, can have equal access to our corporate systems as would any of our head office based staff.
“We looked at all the players in the market and did an extensive analysis of the available solutions. We were fortunate to have a wealth of ERP implementation experience in our management team. To some extent this made us some vendors’ worst nightmare – an informed buyer! Almost by a process of attrition, the shortfalls of competitor products to cater for our future needs became evident. Epicor kept coming back, kept getting better and continued to take an interest in our needs,” says Midgley.
“Another winner was the willingness of our senior management to engage in the process and try and make the ERP and the overall process eco-system work in harmony with each other. The nature of Epicor’s senior management had a lot to do with our decision. They listened to our requirements and they understood our business aspirations. They explained to us their own business aspirations and we found a unity of purpose between their objectives and ours. They were interested in understanding our business and working with us to address our need – their success was equated with our success.”
Present Group’s management knew the company would benefit from establishing a partnership with an ERP vendor that also wanted to establish a long-term business relationship and which shared its own aspirations for success and growth. Accessibility to Epicor’s key executives, globally and regionally, was a benefit for Present Group’s own executives and management team during the implementation process.
“Epicor is a mid-market player which gave us accessibility to the top people. There is no way we would have had this type of access with some of the other software companies we were talking to. We met with Epicor President and CEO Pervez Qureshi when he was in Australia for the regional customer conference. We discussed our strategy to make Epicor capability central to our business offerings, not just a passive technological capability. We have a far greater business relationship with Epicor than simply using the software. Implementing Epicor was an investment with cost savings, but more than that it has become an important partner in establishing a competitive advantage and our relationship with Epicor is part of that competitive strategy,” says Midgley.
Rolling out Epicor ERP
Present Group is rolling out the Epicor ERP system in a number of phases. “The first phase of the implementation was focused on achieving accurate and timely invoicing. That was the payback. Hot on the heels of phase one was HCM, CRM, Field Services and Asset Management. The tipping point after this will be an almost 100 percent deployment using multi-platform web-parts. Once we are satisfied with this internally, we will be able to extend this functionality to our clients,” explains Midgley.
“This is an entirely new business model both for Epicor and ourselves. It is a testament to Epicor that they embrace the opportunities available in this model with us, rather than perceiving it as a threat.”
“We have a constant appetite for more with Epicor, but because they have taken the time to understand our needs they make sure that we don’t become our own worst enemy, implementing components early on which shouldn’t be implemented until later. Technology is their business, not ours, and we can trust them.”
Choosing a flexible licensing model
The Epicor ERP and family of modules met all the current and likely future, requirements of Present Group. In addition to technological flexibility, Epicorcan offer commercial flexibility with its concurrent user licensing model so the end user’s growth and organisational mobility remains unimpeded.
Midgley explains, “A key differentiator we saw with Epicor were the benefits offered by a concurrent-user licensing model as opposed to an end-user licensing model. If we were to remain a small to medium sized enterprise there wouldn’t be a great deal of difference, however, if we continue on the trajectory of growth that we are currently experiencing, the concurrent model leaves their competitors in the dust.
This licensing structure doesn’t become an impediment to growth. It allows us to have many casual users on the system and we don’t have to worry about costs when we grow our head count. This reflects the reality of the way we are doing business and the flexibility it provides was the final decider in the ERP selection process.”
The benefit of mobility
With mobile solutions from Epicor, businesses can support more customers, transactions, and products, and maintain a wider range of business partner relationships. Epicor’s mobile solutions securely and cost-effectively distribute and automate subsets of existing enterprise business systems outside of the company network – whether connected or remote.
Midgley discusses Epicor as an enabler of mobility, “Epicor supports our desires for mobility. Our business is not based on a monolithic head office. If we want to open up an office all we need is someone in there with a browser. It gives us agility, it gives us speed of implementation, it gives us adaptation, and it is reconfigurable, allowing us to meet the needs of the new geographies we move into.
“For most other vendors we investigated, their ERP model was to put the software at the centre. Epicor allows us to have the centre wherever the activity is, so the centre is nowhere and everywhere. Epicor supports our agility, mobility and flexibility aspirations, something other products weren’t going to enable us to do. This is critical for a geographically dispersed business such as ours in maintaining social cohesion, enabling everyone to feel connected and part of the whole.”